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Arch Anim Nutr. 2008 Apr;62(2):162-8. doi: 10.1080/17450390801892567.

Effects of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency from end of gestation to weaning on the growth and haematological and immunological parameters in mouse dams and offspring.

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  • 1Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET), San Miguel de Tucum├ín, Argentina.


Vitamin B12-deficiency may induce specific symptoms as neurological alterations and unspecific symptoms such as anaemia and growth retardation. In this study, maternal vitamin B12 deficiency from end of gestation to weaning was evaluated in mouse dams, which was provoked by feeding a vitamin B12-deficient diet. The animals were divided into two groups (control and deficient). The control group received the vitamin B12-deficient diet supplemented with commercial vitamin B12. Compared to the control, the vitamin B12-deficient dams and their offspring showed a significant decrease of body weight (by 20 and 39%, respectively), serum vitamin B12 concentration (by 61 and 67%, respectively), haematological values as haematocrit (25 and 26%, respectively), and IgA producer cells (by 36 and 54%, respectively). In both, vitamin B12-deficient mouse dams and their offspring, histological alterations of small intestine were observed, whereas growth retardation occurred in the offspring only. This experimental murine model allows assessing the incidence of maternal cobalamin deficiency in offspring and would be useful for evaluating novel adjuncts such as functional foods to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

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